--By Purna Man Shakya
In order to understand how to retain employees, we must first understand why employees leave or stay with an organization in the first place. To learn and unlearn on the best ways to retain employees, Real Solutions organized a seminar entitled ‘Best Ways to Retain Employees’ on at the Presidential Business School in Kathmandu in July this year.
Employees leave organizations for different reasons. Some find a different job, continue higher studies, and some move away due to family problems. Others retire, quit on impulse due to dissatisfaction about something, or never intended to work after earning a certain amount of money. People also get fired or laid off and decide they no longer need a job. Some may also want to start a new venture.
An individual will stay with an organization as long as the incentive it offers (such as satisfactory pay, good working conditions, and developmental opportunities) are equal to or greater than their time and effort. Although some individuals may quit a job on impulse, most people who leave spend time evaluating their current job against possible alternatives, developing intentions about what to do, and engage in job hunts. All of these examples represent a turnover and they don’t all have the same organizational implications. Thus, turnover can be voluntary, involuntary, functional, dysfunctional, avoidable and unavoidable.
Why Employees Stay
As employees participate in their professional and community life, they develop a web of connections and relationships on and off the job. Leaving a job would require severing or rearranging these connections. Employees who have many connections are more embedded, and thus have numerous reasons to stay in an organization.
Factors of retention
Challenging and meaningful work, opportunities to learn and grow, the sense of being part of a group or team, and having a good boss are four primary ways to retain employees, though the first three ways are basically influenced by the boss.
Challenging, Meaningful and Transparent Work
Exciting, challenging and meaningful work that makes a difference is the most important factor in job satisfaction. If one is going to spend a great deal of one’s life doing something, it at least should have some interest and some meaning or purpose. Also, an organization should prepare a platform where employees feels rewarded and attracted to go to office daily. The management also has to maintain transparency in terms of vision, mission, goals, objectives, implementation strategies, and policies in order to make a job meaningful and challenging.
Opportunities to Learn and Grow
Clear career growth, learning, and development are three of the top reasons that people stay in their current jobs.
A good boss provides opportunities for learning, challenges, and growth on the job that match the employee’s abilities and aspirations. He or she encourages employees to improve the work as well as their skills and to keep up with the latest developments in their field as well as facilities for providing formal and informal learning opportunities. Employees should also be encouraged to network, to join trade and professional associations and to read publications related to their line of work.
Sense of Being Part of a Group or Team
Working with great people, being a part of a team, and having fun on the job are some important factors in job satisfaction. Even a department, section, or division can feel like a team if the manager and employees treat each other with courtesy and respect, listen to one another’s ideas, recognize and celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and work toward common goals. Of course, every team or work group can benefit from training in areas such as communication, group development, decision making and conflict resolution. It is the manager’s responsibility to provide the work group members or team members with the tools and resources to work well together. It is the group’s responsibility to utilize them well. This contributes in building a feeling of organization citizenship.
Good Boss as a mentor, facilitator & visionary leader
Rudeness, impatience, arrogance, intimidation, yelling, being condescending, embarrassing people, swearing, telling lies, sexual harassment, using inappropriate humour and demonstrating sexism or racism will not earn the loyalty or respect of employees. Besides, behaviour such as failing to solicit and listen to employee input, failing to recognize employees’ accomplishments, withholding praise, giving only negative feedback, taking credit for others’ accomplishments or ideas, blaming others for one’s own mistakes, betraying, micromanaging, withholding critical information, showing distrust, showing favouritism, setting unrealistic goals or deadlines, and failing to help good performers grow in their career in the hope of holding onto them are equally harmful to good boss- employee relations which encourages employees to leave. Satisfied employees report that their managers are good role models and demonstrate inspiring leadership. They communicate well and often, they are trustworthy and supportive. They help to create a sense of purpose in the work, and they encourage employee growth and career development. Also, a boss should be up to date with the latest ideas in order to cope and balance new entrants who bring new vibrations in the organization. In short, for managing a talent, a boss should be a talented person first. The word ‘boss’ itself needs to be transformed to ‘mentor’, ‘facilitator’ and a ‘visionary leader’.
Besides these primary factors, there are a number of others that influence employee retention, such as competitive benefit packages that fit employees’ and industries’ needs, stay and exit interviews and application of their outcomes at the strategic level, open communication between employees and management, and communicating clear expectations to employees.